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The Next Christians Participant's Guide: Following Jesus in a Post-Christian Culture

Overview

In his six-session small group Bible study, The Next Christians, Gabe Lyons cites modern day examples and looks ahead over the next century to how Christians can adapt to a new way of living their faith.

In the wake of the stunning findings that Unchristian, Gabe Lyon’s and David Kinneman’s book, shared with the world about younger generations’ disenchantment with Christianity, Gabe Lyons became an active participant in many key discussions ...

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Overview

In his six-session small group Bible study, The Next Christians, Gabe Lyons cites modern day examples and looks ahead over the next century to how Christians can adapt to a new way of living their faith.

In the wake of the stunning findings that Unchristian, Gabe Lyon’s and David Kinneman’s book, shared with the world about younger generations’ disenchantment with Christianity, Gabe Lyons became an active participant in many key discussions about the future of Christianity in the U.S. and the world.

The Next Christians study takes into account recent efforts at Christian renewal, addressing the significant challenges that could undermine the viability of Christianity if the faithful do not employ a completely new outlook. In it, your small group will discuss the ideas presented in the book, The Next Christians.

Lyons looks ahead at how Christianity can and must adapt over the next 100 years, as he optimistically paints a picture of how it’s best days might lay ahead as a new generation rediscovers their faith in this unprecedented new era in the West.

This Participant Guide features discussion questions, background information on each character, space to write down thoughts, a helpful Leader’s Guide, and much more (95 pages). It is designed for use with The Next Christians DVD (sold separately) features interviews with notable thinkers and leader such as Tim Keller, Andy Crouch, Scot Mc Knight, Phyllis Tickle and Jon Tyson.

Sessions include:
1. The End of Christian America
2. Restoration Thinking
3. Provoked to Engage
4. Creators Who Are Called
5. Grounded and In Community
6. Counterculture for the Common Good

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310671473
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 1/6/2011
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 1,026,769
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Gabe Lyons is the author of The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America and the founder of Q—a learning community that mobilizes Christians to advance the common good in society. Additionally, he is the coauthor of Un Christian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity and Why It Matters, a bestselling book based on original research that revealed the pervasiveness of pop culture’s negative perceptions of Christians. Prior to launching Q (www.Qideas.org), Gabe co-founded Catalyst, a national gathering of young leaders. His work represents the perspectives of a new generation of Christians and has been featured by CNN, The New York Times, and USA Today. Gabe, his wife, Rebekah, and their three children reside in Manhattan, New York

Norton Herbst is a pastor at New Denver Church and also serves as Q’s senior editor. Prior to this, Norton worked at North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and helped write the Starting Point curriculum and study notes for the Starting Point Bible. Norton, Janis, and their three children reside in Denver, Colorado.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction....................05
How to Use This Study....................08
Session One The End of Christian America....................11
Session Two Restoration Thinking....................25
Session Three Provoked to Engage....................39
Session Four Creators Who Are Called....................53
Session Five Grounded and In Community....................69
Session Six Counterculture for the Common Good....................83
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First Chapter

The Next Christians Participant's Guide


By Gabe Lyons Norton Herbst

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2011 The Arrow Group, LLC
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-67147-3


Chapter One

THE END OF CHRISTIAN AMERICA

A CHRISTIAN NATION? DISCUSS (15 minutes)

1. What is your religious background? Did you grow up going to church frequently, occasionally, or not at all? Did organized religion play any role in your upbringing as a child and/or teenager? If so, what denomination or tradition? What do you remember most about it?

Spend a few minutes sharing with your group.

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

2. Consider some of the examples and statistics that Gabe shares in The Next Christians about the changing ethos of our nation:

-> The removal of Judeo-Christian symbols, like the Ten Commandments, from public spaces (p. 15)

-> The influence of atheists like Christopher Hitchens and his best-selling book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (p. 16)

-> A Hindu chaplain leading prayer in the U.S. Senate in 2007 (p. 22)

-> Fifty-one percent of Protestant teens said they left their childhood religion because their spiritual needs were not being met (pp. 22-23)

-> Thirty-one percent fewer young people are regular churchgoers today than in the heat of the cultural revolution of the 1970s (p. 23)

-> In light of this, Gabe concludes that "few will argue that our country as we know it today can still be labeled 'Christian America'" (p. 22)

Do these changes worry you? What challenges do they present for Christians?

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

SEA CHANGE WATCH (15 minutes)

View interviews with the following people from The Next Christians DVD. Record your thoughts on the following pages.

PHYLLIS TICKLE is founding editor of the Religion Department of Publishers Weekly, the international journal of the book industry, and is an authority on religion in America. In addition to lectures and numerous essays, articles, and interviews, Tickle is the author of over two dozen books on religion and spirituality, most recently The Great Emergence and How Christianity Is Changing. She is also the general editor of The Ancient Practices series.

LOUIE GIGLIO is the founder of Passion Conferences, a movement dedicated to seeing spiritual awakening come to the college campuses of the nation and the world. He also heads sixstepsrecords and founded Passion City Church, a community of faith in Atlanta, Georgia.

THOUGHTS REFLECT on video and following questions (25 minutes)

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

3. Which idea that Phyllis Tickle or Louie Giglio shared challenged you the most?

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

4. How have you personally seen Christianity lose influence in our culture? What conversations or experiences have you had that demonstrate that non-Christians no longer have a high opinion of Christianity or the church?

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

5. Phyllis Tickle made the statement: "You never want to be part of a religion that is socially acceptable or politically acceptable; it's bad for your soul."

Do you agree with this? Why or why not? In what ways can being part of a religion that is socially or politically acceptable be bad for your soul?

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

6. In The Next Christians, Gabe asserts that American culture is not only becoming pluralistic and post-Christian, but also postmodern: an ethos of skepticism and suspicion toward authorities that claim absolute certainty (pp. 23-24).

Would you consider yourself "postmodern"? In what ways are you cynical or skeptical toward authorities?

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? APPLY (20 minutes)

7. In a pluralistic culture where tolerance and religious liberty are championed, how can your own local faith community be influential in your city?

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

8. Christians believe that truth can be found in the person of Jesus (John 14:6) and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). In a postmodern culture where people are skeptical toward those who make absolute-truth claims about God or morality, how can you find common ground with non-Christians in your sphere of influence who do not accept your own views about truth?

Give some specific examples.

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

9. In a post-Christian culture where Christian beliefs are not explicitly or implicitly endorsed by those in power, how can we learn from the early Christians in the first, second, and third centuries who lived in a similar context? How was their culture similar to ours, and what models do they give us?

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

CONCLUDE

Spend every morning this week praying this simple prayer: "God, please open my eyes to the ways that my culture is changing. Help me to empathize with those outside the faith who do not understand our beliefs or convictions. Today, give me the grace to be patient and the wisdom to know how to stay grounded in my convictions while also presenting a gospel-centered worldview that is winsome and credible to my neighbors, friends, coworkers, and peers. Amen."

BEFORE THE NEXT SESSION, READ:

Chapter 3: "A Parody of Ourselves" and

Chapter 4: "Relearning Restoration" of The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons

FOR FURTHER EXPLORATION:

-> Have an intentional conversation with a non-Christian friend and ask him or her what perceptions he or she has of Christians.

-> Watch one of the Zeitgeist films online to get an idea of postmodern skepticism.

-> Read The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries by Rodney Stark.

-> Attend a religious service at a synagogue, mosque, Hindu temple, or with _ another religious group to learn about other religious ideas that are influencing your culture.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Next Christians Participant's Guide by Gabe Lyons Norton Herbst Copyright © 2011 by The Arrow Group, LLC. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite Author Gabe Lyons loo

    Reviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite

    Author Gabe Lyons looks at Christianity in America today and offers his clear viewpoint in "The Next Christians". He admits that just a few years ago he was embarrassed to call himself Christian. Now, Author Lyons writes that enrolling one's children in Christian school or tuning into Christian radio does not make a person judgmental or holier-than-thou, but on page 35 he does admit that "when the faithful saturate their schedules with Christian events at Christian venues with Christian people, the world has a hard time believing we hold the rest of the world in high esteem." Author Lyons had the privilege of meeting with Billy Graham at a time in the recent past and that august Christian leader stated that "The Holy Spirit is working in a new way. He's moving through people...they are demonstrating God's love to those around them, not just with words, but in deed." Author Lyons cites examples of modern day Christians who are restorers, reaching out to the broken, to those in need like Carl Medearis who makes a point of having difficult conversations with difficult people.

    "The Next Christians" is a well-written, well-edited text that is hands-on for the reader who wants to live his Christianity and touch the lives of others, however different they might be. The author's sharing of the story of the "Christian" who gave out leaflets instead of treats on Halloween will give the reader pause to think. His sharing of young couples moving into what would be considered dangerous neighborhoods is inspiring. The index, notes, and table of contents add to the value of this delightful and highly readable book on Christianity and where it goes from here.

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